Retail Customer Experience

#Retail Customer Experience

In a previous post titled – Let’s Make The #Retail Customer Experience Great In 2016! – I covered the more organizational topic around how to set your company employees up, through training/development, for providing great customer experience. This post is really for the team members who are interacting with the customer and mapping out a basic plan to deliver the service levels conducive with providing a great experience.

What do our customers want? There are some challenges inside retail being that it is no longer just a brick-and-mortar business but, instead, an onmichannel and multichannel experience for the consumer. However, there is still power in having a product in-hand today so when you have customers in your store – it is important to recognize that they are truly potential buyers. You can turn them into actual buyers through amazing service and engagement. Creating an experience so compelling that they find extreme value in buying their desired item today, from you. This will support the closing of more sales and elevate brand loyalty.

Here are some interesting statistics that are powerful to know:

(Source: Startup Nation)

When asked how far customers would drive for excellent service:
-80% said they’d travel four or more miles, and nearly half said
they would drive 10 miles or more for the right combination of price,
quality and customer service.

How many bad experiences does it take to lose a customer?
-According to the BIGresearch survey, 17% will bolt after a single service faux pas. Another 40% will jump ship after two instances of poor service, and 28% more are out the door after three. So for 85% of your customers, it’s three strikes and you’re out.

We don’t have that many chances to make a good impression on our customer so it’s important that each and every customer is valued and made to feel unique, important, and we are showing them gratitude throughout the interaction.

So, what do customers expect of their experience?

It’s actually frighteningly basic.

(1) Knowledgeable and present staff
-Customers want knowledgeable interactions, available when they want it
-They want to know who they are dealing with
-Customers place an elevated value on accurate information

(2) Friendly interactions
-Customers want to interact with someone who is happy to help them
-Customer expect happy, polite, proactive service levels
-They wish to be valued more than their money

(3) Good value
-Customers expect to receive a valuable experience, value in their interaction, value in the cost, value in the follow-up, value in the accuracy of information they receive

(4) Convenience
-Customers want merchandise that is well organized, attractively displayed, and easy to find
-That’s how Customers define convenience, and the easier you can make the shopping, the better
-Clean, neat, pressed employees and clean, neat, well-merchandised stores

(5) A fast finish
-Customers expect for the closing transaction to be fast and painless
-Up-sell during your dialogue with the customer on the selling floor (warranties, credit card benefits, product of the week, etc.) – don’t wait until you are at the register completing the sale. That prolongs the transaction and your customer, likely, just wants to pay and go


Here are some other things to consider:

(A) 80% of customers give you a “no” four times before they give you a yes
So, if you have an “item” to sell that you are measured on (credit card sign-up, cash-wrap item/item of the week, email sign up), figure out a way to sell this through-out your interaction. You need to sell the benefit of this program to the customer. If you simply ask four or five times – you will generally continue to get a “no”. Customer’s want to know what’s in it for them – tell them, up front.

(B) 63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months – providing excellent customer experience may not result in a sale today but a future sale for your store – Keep in mind this does not mean your average customer. This is the customer that comes in with initial questions for you. This interaction is, essentially, an audition to see if the customer is interested in shopping with you. It is important to capture this customer as well.

(C) According to Parature: The Top 3 Most Important Aspects of a Good Customer Experience
(a) 41% of customers reported it was getting any issues resolved quickly
(b) 26% reported it was getting any issues resolved in a single interaction
(c) 12% reported they valued a polite customer service representative
-If you don’t know what you can/cannot do for your customer resolutions, find out what you are able to do and the process for handling customer challenges. Understanding that this is a critical point in customer experience, make sure you are able to manage it well

This is probably not a new quote to anyone in the retail industry but it is extremely relevant: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou

The following link to a YouTube Video has nothing, really, to do with retail (per se) but it does resonate with creating an experience. This video was taken by a student, Shea Golden, at the performing arts high school she attends in Chicago: People React To Being Called Beautiful. It’s 4minutes and 47seconds of time well-spent to watch it.

Why do I think this is appropriate to our focus on Customer Experience? It’s because you can see people smiling because of five simple words. You can see how these five words changed someone’s day. You also see the sour, rude person who you will never please (we’ve all had this customer, right?). You see a couple faces that are distrustful of the pitch. But the overwhelming majority smiled and felt something that manifested itself in happiness because of this brilliant student who was taking pictures “of things I find beautiful”. “People will never forget how you made them feel”

In this changing retail world we have chosen to be a part of – right now, it’s about the “experience” for the customer. Remember…”By 2020, Customer Experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator”.(Source: Parature) We need to start making a difference and having an impact in this crucial area of the business. Addition 12/7/15 – I shared this video with my team via a group video chat on Skype on Thursday 12/3/15 and we received 14 customer compliments between Friday and Sunday. Our normal customer feedback is, typically three to five compliments a week. We committed to a focus on experience and making our customer “feel” special. It was a great and lively video chat, exercise, and definitely produced results.


Founder and Editor in Chief of Excellence In Retail and 18 year retailer. I am a passionate and creative leader and coach committed to inspiring thought, action, truth-telling, solution-seeking, and dialog about how to maximize talent through identifying and creating a process around critical success factors, workplace culture, signature leadership practices, productivity, profitability, alignment of employees and company vision & values, and workplace happiness inside all retail organizations. I help create healthy, vibrant, high-performing, and highly-productive organizations that are talent magnets and focused on delivering the highest level of customer experience that will differentiate them from competition and result in long-term growth and sustainability.

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